I think it would be safe to say that bloggers are people who like stories. Why else would we search our souls for words to symbolize the experiences of others and ourselves, then put them out there for others to read, like, hate, feel no emotional charge about one way or the other?
There’s an account Jesus gives in the Book of Matthew (Chapter 25, verses 31 – 46) where he talks of the judgement that will come. He gathers the righteous onto his right and the unrighteous to his left. He makes a statement to those on his right: “I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me.” Of course, they haven’t a clue about ever having done this. Jesus gives a surprising answer: “Assuredly, I say to you, since you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.” Jesus’ response can be applied to many other experiences or denied experiences of the least of these.
Whether we read books, magazines, newspapers, whatever the case might be, do we ever stop to think that the words we’re digesting have been penned by someone who couldn’t be counted among the least of these. Our society always rushes to get the stories of the rich and famous, the not-so-rich but famous, those who have some means of getting their stories out. For example, I’m certainly not rich and famous, but I do have a decent education, and I can afford to purchase a computer and pay the annual cost for using the platform supplied by WordPress. Furthermore, I have just enough confidence, some might call it ego, to pen various musings and to think people will want to read them. On the other hand, the least of these don’t have the elements just mentioned to produce their stories and deposit them into cyberspace for others to read.
I’ve written previously about my experiences growing up poor in Cross County, Arkansas in the 1950s. It would be safe to say that I was certainly viewed by Jim Crow society as being among the least of these. I was part of a demographic that contained countless stories; stories of joy, pain, suffering and success despite insurmountable odds to navigate daily. I often think of the thousands, and tens of thousands of stories that have gone untold by the marginalized people of society. I’m confident that these stories would fascinate us to no end. They would clear our minds of the stereotypes often harbored society. We often hear from those who reside on the other side of town that the poor are lazy and continually looking for a handout. I don’t remember, from my childhood, any poor people sitting around waiting for handouts. The least of these can’t speak that power to truth; thus, unscrupulous politicians paint, with broad brushes, stories about countless numbers of welfare queens, who rob the public coffers.
Art, as it imitates life, just might look a bit different if more content about the least of these, told by the least of these was available.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.
P.S. In honor of Black History month, I’m reminded that Africans, who currently reside on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, have a history that started millennia prior to slavery. That’s a least-of-these story yet to be told in any significant volume.
So well put. We so easily limit ourselves with our thinking and we forget there are many with stories to share that cannot. Everybody has a story
What a great post. I think what you say about least-of-these stories is what makes memoirs of certain people so compelling. I’m thinking of books by Andrew Lam who writes of his life as a Vietnamese immigrant, Black Like Me by Howard Griffin, or even The Apology by Eve Ensler. Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton, and Educated by Tara Westover. These are all stories about people who have lived lives made remarkable only because they started out with nothing or with very little and somehow surpassed expectation to make a huge difference in the world.
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